Monday, March 10, 2014

Wormfest 2014!

It's time for Wormfest!  It's going on all week, so feel free to jump in!  It's going to be lots of fun, I can promise you that.

This event is hosted by Stephen Tremp, L. Diane Wolf, and Alex J. Cavanaugh.

Here are the rules:

For 2014, the theme is to name one thing where science advances mankind, and one where technology with unforeseen consequences will go too far and set mankind back. Example: De-Extinction, or bringing back extinction species through back breeding, genetic engineering, and cloning. With all the breakthrough discoveries mankind is on the cusp of, are we playing God?

As technology grows smaller and more powerful, it's bound to become more integrated with our bodies.  The idea of implanting microchips into the brain, either enhancing humans in some way or allowing human beings to network with one another used to be placed firmly within the realm of science fiction.  Yet, as often happens, science is catching up and aligning this once seemingly far-fetched idea with reality.

Right now, implants in the brain are being used for medical purposes, helping people deal with medical conditions such as epilepsy.  This has been happening for awhile, and it's definitely encouraging that we are learning to relieve the suffering of others through such technological advancements.

Scientists are also hoping to use microchips to implant memories into patients with damaged brains.  This could potentially assist those with memory loss induced by accidents, are those suffering from Alzheimer's.

It would be great if this technology could be used to help people, but we also need to be aware of the potential dangers.  I'm not saying we should desist in this line of research, but if we want to avoid the pain its misuse would cause, we need to be aware of the possibilities.

Could someone use such technology to implant false memories?  What if someone witnessed a crime being committed, and someone wanted to alter their memories of the event?  What if the government decided that reprogramming convicts to make them into more productive members of society was the way to go?  Could such a thing even be done, and what are the ethical consequences of such an action?  Would this be considered legitimate therapy, or is changing the core of who a person is going too far?

And what if we used microchips to plug into the internet, or to network directly with one another?  It might make interactions more efficient, but there are also potential dangers involved.  How would a virus transmitted through the internet affect the human brain?  How would we ever have any privacy?

Science is a wonderful thing, as is science fiction.  While scientists work to make groundbreaking discoveries that will transform the world in which we live, science fiction will mull over the possibilities, bringing to light the potential consequences of technological advancement.  It also entertains us at the same time, which makes it even more amazing!

Oh, speaking of amazing things, I should mention, Escalation by Stephen Tremp is available today!  


  1. Scary point about a virus.
    And what about the tracking capabilites? Big brother would always be watching...
    Thanks for participating in the blogfest.

  2. Thanks for promoting Stephen on your blog. He deserves all the exposure he can get!!

  3. There is still so much that is not known about the human brain, and tinkering is scary, especially the thought of us all communicating through implanted microchips. It would be useful to Google something during exams, but sad if not one of your thoughts could belong to just you.
    Unfortunately human beings would find a way to turn this into an evil.
    Great post.

  4. This is such a strange bizarre world we are entering. If research and development can imagine it, they can probably do it. What leaves the doors and what stays locked away probably comes down to money ultimately.

    Thanks for participating!

  5. So what happens when people start swapping chips? Of if someone implants multiple chips? Hmmm....

  6. Great idea! I feel inspired to write a story about this, but also creeped out. I don't think this would be a good idea. Perhaps to be able to wake up parts of the brain which influenced short term memory might be good, but to actually implant memories? Madness. Therapists have been able to do this through suggestion and look how that turned out. People believing their parents abused them when nothing happened. Lives ruined, families torn apart. I imagine all sorts of evils ahead. I just know I'm going to dream about this now. *Chews lip!

  7. You've raised some significant points!
    Really fascinating... and as time goes on, science fiction turns into science fact! Where will it end?
    Writer In Transit

  8. It's so interesting how each advance, say in helping epileptics without drugs, has such a flipside of potentially altering one's memories or some such negative effect. We have to be so careful these days. The google glasses really freak me out.

  9. The thought of being able to alter people's memories makes me go hmmm. It's good to help people with these medical advances, but of course, there is potential for the not-so-good stuff to happen.

  10. Hopefully I better late than never here...
    So I'm a super geek, cuase all I'm thinking is Johnny Mnemonic.
    I totally see the good and hope more people are able to benefit from this, but I've been worried about this for a while.
    Great post!